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Gavin's story starts in the town of South Fallsburg, New York – which isn’t really a town at all. Two hours outside of New York City, South Fallsburg is technically a hamlet – a rural community classified as being smaller than a village. “I didn’t grow up in a place that was pretty and great and safe,” he says. “There were aspects that were great, of course, but it wasn’t a privileged upbringing. So I think I wanted to make things nicer through my music. Maybe if I was raised in a more privileged environment, my music would have sounded a little dirtier.”
Whatever the influence, it has translated into much success for DeGraw, who began his career trekking to New York City to play just about anywhere that would take him – restaurants, bars, after-hours spots. His first gig was an Italian restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, where he also waited tables at (“I was a horrible waiter,” he laughs). Soon, DeGraw began playing bars, populated mostly by people he knew from near his hometown and local friends. Then he graduated to local clubs, attracting larger and larger local audiences. In 2001, he recorded and pressed up his own live CD that would sell out at his ever-growing club shows. After signing with J Records and releasing Chariot, in 2003, DeGraw would earn a big break when “One Tree Hill,” would use his first single, “I Don’t Want To Be,” as its theme song. Audiences around the country were soon introduced to his affable charms and prodigious songwriting and singing talent.
“I got a break, like a lot of people get a break, but it wasn’t an ‘overnight’ thing. I think that keeps everything in check for me,” DeGraw muses. “Success is such a relative thing, too, because, for me, it was a success to play in a restaurant as opposed to playing on the street. It was a success to play in a bar instead of a restaurant. It was a success to play in a club instead of a bar, you know? Those were all successes and I had a good life. It was killer to get to make a living playing on a local level in New York.”
His new self-titled album, 'Gavin DeGraw', was written over the course of a year, beginning in the winter of 2006. He would write many of the songs on his guitar but also on his piano, which only adds to his versatility as a frontman. 'Gavin DeGraw' is a collection of impassioned, emotionally resonant songs about the joys and rigors of love and life.